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Severus Snape

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I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even stopper death -- if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach."
-- Severus Snape (PS8)

Severus Snape

Potions Master, Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, and Head of Slytherin at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry; followed Dumbledore as Headmaster. Personally killed by Lord Voldemort and his snake, Nagini.

Severus Snape was a conundrum to all who know him: sarcastic and hard on his most vulnerable students, yet respected by his colleagues; Dumbledore’s confidante and healer, yet also apparently his murderer. Although he was a Death Eater at one time, he became a member of the Order of the Phoenix working secretly against the Dark Lord after meeting with Dumbledore on the Windy Hilltop in 1980 to warn him of an impending attack on the Potter family. Snape’s regreat over the death of his lost love, Lily Evans, kept him going as a double spy till the end of his life.

Severus Snape was the Halfblood only child of Tobias Snape (a Muggle), and Eileen Prince Snape (a witch). The Snape household on Spinner’s End in an industrial part of northern England was not a happy one. Tobias Snape frequently unleashed his anger on his wife, and Severus, their wizard child, was neglected or worse. When he was about 9 years old, young Severus discovered another magically gifted child at the neighborhood playground, and fell in love with green-eyed Lily Evans’s generous nature and her daring — and tried to forget that she was a “Mudblood,” a Muggle-born witch. In spite of her blood status, he innocently hoped they would both be put in Slytherin House, which he believed was house for the brightest students like themselves.

Severus and Lily attended Hogwarts together from 1971 to 1978, but Severus was sorted into Slytherin and Lily was sorted into Gryffindor. Their other classmates included James Potter, Sirius Black, Remus Lupin, Bertha Jorkins and the children of the Death Eaters Avery and Mulciber. Students in other years included Regulus Black and Lucius Malfoy. This was the decade of Lord Voldemort’s first rise to power, and the student body at Hogwarts reflected the turmoil of the larger world. Blood status was fair game for schoolyard taunts and many young students were fascinated by Voldemort’s power and ideas. Snape, who allegedly arrived at Hogwarts knowing more curses than most upperclassmen, was one of these students. At any rate, Lily grew more and more disturbed as her old friend Severus developed friendships with a group of Muggle-hating Slytherins, especially Avery and Mulciber.

Snape and James Potter quickly developed a loathe/loathe relationship, some of which was ordinary Slytherin – Gryffindor rivalry, some of it was because James and his gang “The Marauders” saw Snape as an easy target. James and his best friend Sirius nicknamed Snape “Snivellus,” and taunted him about his unkempt appearance, cheered on by their friend Peter Pettigrew. As they grew older, Severus tried to hold onto his friendship for Lily Evans, but James made a “special case” out of Snape and hexed him whenever he could, usually behind Lily’s back.

Over the years. Snape spent a lot of time following James and his friends around, trying to find ways to get them expelled. Usually the Marauders had the upper hand, since they were creators of the Marauders Map, which could tell them where Snape was at any given moment. However, when Snape became too curious about where Lupin went every month, Sirius Black somehow tricked him into entering the passage under the Whomping Willow to find out. He would have been killed by Lupin as werewolf — or wound up a werewolf himself — if James Potter hadn’t realized what was happening and pulled him back. Far from being thankful, Snape felt that James was merely saving his own friend from becoming a murderer. However he promised Dumbledore to keep Lupin’s status as a werewolf a secret, and kept his promise for the next 19 years, even making the Werewolf Potion for Lupin when he became a teacher at Hogwarts. But after the night Remus forgot to take his potion and transformed, Snape told the Slytherins Lupin’s secret and he had to leave Hogwarts. However, by then Minister for Magic Cornelius Fudge also knew about Lupin, and the one-year-only curse on the DADA job kicked in anyway, so Lupin could not have stayed even if Snape had said nothing.

Snape’s worst memory was of an incident that happened during his fifth year at Hogwarts. The day everyone took their O.W.L.s, as Severus was sitting by himself out on the Hogwarts grounds, James and Sirius snuck up on him and humiliated him in front of all the other students. Lily was nearby and stopped James, but Severus, angry and embarrassed, lashed out at Lily and called her the unforgivable — a Mudblood. He stood outside Gryffindor House all night and apologized to her, but she would have none of it, and informed Severus that he could not have Lily’s friendship and still have his Muggle-hater friends like Mulciber.

Lily severed her ties with her childhood friend and married James Potter three years later, but Snape would always love her.

darkmark-bhAs they reached majority, Snape and many of his Slytherin cohorts became Death Eaters. It is not known to what extent he participated in Voldemort’s reign of terror, although he always remained in good standing with Voldemort. While hanging around the Hog’s Head tavern, Snape eavesdropped on an interview between Albus Dumbledore and Sybill Trelawney, overhearing part of Trelawney’s prophecy regarding “the one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord approaching … as the seven month dies.” Snape passed the incomplete Prophecy on to his master.

This small act was to be a turning point for Snape: when Snape learned that based upon the prophecy that Voldemort planned to attack the Potters to destroy James and Lily’s infant son, he was terrified. Knowing that Lily would not give up her son without a fight, Snape begged the Dark Lord to spare her life, and he agreed. But by then Snape knew better than to trust only in Voldemort. Instead, he met with Dumbledore on the Windy Hilltop to warn him of the pending attack and to ask him to keep Lily safe, then Dumbledore hired him to work as Potions Master at Hogwarts, to give him cover as a spy and a safe place to live.

The Potters were betrayed anyway by their friend Peter Pettigrew who sold them out to Voldemort, but at the time Snape and Dumbledore believed it was Sirius Black who killed the Potters and then Peter, before blowing up a street and killing Muggles. Snape was in agony that the plan had failed, and saw no reason to live, but Dumbledore convinced him to stay alive for the sake of Lily’s son, Harry, in case the Dark Lord rose again someday. Snape was so full of grief and remorse that he offered his complete allegiance to Dumbledore, on the condition that Dumbledore never reveal it to anyone, especially not Lily’s son.

When Voldemort rose again in 1995, Snape stayed undercover as a Death Eater, providing Dumbledore with inside information, and protecting Harry at the same time. This was something Snape was ideally suited for: he was such an accomplished Occlumens that even Voldemort could not see his thoughts. As Dumbledore later told Snape, “To give Voldemort what appears to be valuable information while withholding the essentials is a job I would entrust to nobody but you.” (DH33). The downside for Snape was that he would be open to accusations of cowardice from both sides, something he became extremely sensitive about.

However, Dumbledore would not need Snape’s spying skills for many years to come; Voldemort’s physical body was destroyed when the Avada Kedavra curse he aimed at one-year-old Harry Potter rebounded on him. His mother Lily’s self-sacrifice seconds before had unexpectedly protected her son. That was actually due to Snape’s request that Voldemort give Lily a choice to live or die, telling her to step aside – when she chose to stay where she was in front of her baby and die for him, the blood protection kicked in for Harry. When the Ministry put the Death Eaters on trial after Voldemort’s fall, Dumbledore vouched for Snape’s loyalty and Snape was never imprisoned.

For the next 16 years Severus Snape was the Potions Master at Hogwarts and head of Slytherin House, a position of considerable authority and respect. His teaching style was based on intimidation and bullying, and yet his students routinely had good results on their O.W.L. exams. When Harry started school, Snape took an instant dislike to this child he had promised to protect. Unfortunately for Harry, he looked just like Snape’s rival James Potter — with the exception of his mother’s green eyes. Snape was also cruel to Neville Longbottom for no discernable reason except perhaps that he could sense that Neville was afraid of him. Harry believed that Snape favored students of his own house while actively undermining the efforts of students from Gryffindor, but that was not always true considering that Hermione Granger did well in Potions, making better grades than Draco Malfoy. When Snape became Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher, Hufflepuff Ernie MacMillan thought the class was great, and even Neville Longbottom, who had suffered in Potions, seemed to thrive in DADA.

The other professors knew that Snape had been a Death Eater, but all seemed to feel that Dumbledore’s trust was sufficient proof that Snape no longer subscribed to Voldemort’s goals.

From Harry’s point of view, Snape’s words were often at odds with his behavior. Despite petty harassment, points taken, and detentions given, Snape repeatedly protected Harry from Quirrell, stymied Umbridge’s attempt to force Harry to drink Veritaserum, and never took advantage of his innumerable chances to kill him. When Voldemort regained his powers at the end of Harry’s fourth year, Snape was able to satisfy the Dark Lord of his loyalty and reestablish his position among the Death Eaters. His role, as far as Voldemort was concerned, was to use his position at Hogwarts and his membership in the Order of the Phoenix to bring information on Harry and Dumbledore to Voldemort. Only Bellatrix, Voldemort’s most fanatical follower, harbored any doubts that Snape was a true Death Eater.

Head of SlytherinDuring Harry’s fifth year, Snape tutored Harry in Occlumency at Dumbledore’s request, under cover of “Remedial Potions.” The lessons went badly and ended abruptly when Snape caught Harry peeking at the memories he had stored in the Pensieve for safekeeping. Harry was confused by the fact that Snape was a childhood victim of his own father’s bullying and seemed to be friends with his mother, and he felt sorry for Snape after seeing his “worst memory.” However, despite the fact that both of them glimpsed bits of each other’s deprived childhoods, neither one seems to have gained any empathy for the other. Harry certainly wasn’t the “pampered little prince” that Snape thought him, but Snape was not the “greasy git” that Sirius made him out to be either. They never talked about the memories and Harry never apologized for dipping into the Pensieve either. After the Fifth Year,  Harry insisted on blaming Snape for the death of Sirius at the Department of Mysteries. He felt that if Snape had not taunted Sirius for going to Azkaban and being locked up at Grimmauld Place, Sirius would not have left the safe house to fight only to be killed by Bellatrix Lestrange. Harry ignored the fact that Dumbledore told Sirius to stay home and safe, and his godfather chose to fight. Dumbledore, however, refused to blame Snape for the death of Sirius.

In sixth year, Harry came into the possession of Snape’s old copy of Advanced Potion Making which he had edited as a boy under the name “The Half-Blood Prince” to describe himself. Harry had no idea that Snape was the creative Prince, and wondered at times if his own father James had written the book. When Lupin told Harry that was not the case, Harry was disappointed since he thought of the Prince as a friend. Harry used the improved potion recipes to win success in N.E.W.T. level class and the favor of Potions Master Horace Slughorn, who was also a fan of his late mother Lily.

Disaster struck in the summer of 1996 when Dumbledore began hunting for Voldemort’s Horcruxes and couldn’t resist trying on the cursed Peverell ring because the Resurrection Stone was part of the setting, and Dumbledore wanted to use it to see his mother and sister again. Snape rushed to his aid, but could not permanently contain the damage. Snape estimated that Dumbledore had less than a year to live, but was shocked by the Headmaster’s response. Since Voldemort had plans to kill Dumbledore anyway (using young Draco Malfoy), Dumbledore told Snape to kill him before anyone else could, and thus spare Draco and maintain his cover. Snape saw the necessity and grimly agreed. About that time, a frantic Narcissa and a snarling Bellatrix trapped him into making an Unbreakable Vow to protect Draco and “carry out the deed that the Dark Lord … ordered Draco to perform.” (HBP2). Thus, Snape’s role was inescapable. It was Snape who appeared to murder Albus Dumbledore, the most powerful wizard of his age, the Headmaster who trusted him and hired him, and Harry’s last remaining father figure. However, in some ways the death was more of a mercy-killing, since Dumbledore was already “finished” by the Horcrux curse, as well as failing from Voldemort’s Cave Potion while on the Tower.

Snape escaped with Draco, but Harry was close on his heels trying to curse him and kill him. Snape kept the other Death Eaters from using the Cruciatus Curse on Harry, then admitted to him that he was the Half-Blood Prince before disapparating beyond the Hogwarts gates.

Snape had other instructions from Dumbledore, including a double cross that would hopefully protect Harry once he reached his majority and had to leave Privet Drive in the Battle of the Seven Potters. The plan worked, but ‘Mad Eye’ Moody was killed and Snape (flying with the attacking Death Eaters), missed a shot at a Death Eater and cursed George’s ear off.

Dumbledore also instructed Snape protect the children at Hogwarts as much as he could once Voldemort took control. Even though Snape was made Headmaster, his was no simple task because Voldemort had placed the Carrows at Hogwarts too. Alecto replaced the murdered Charity Burbage and turned Muggle Studies into a class where Muggle-haters were indoctrinated in Voldemort’s propaganda. Amycus became the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor and used it to teach the Dark Arts instead.

youngsnape-mkOnce Snape was ensconced in the Headmaster’s office, he could communicate with Dumbledore in a limited way via his portrait. This was how Snape knew when to get Gryffindor’s sword to Harry in the forest. Snape was told that “it must be taken under conditions of need and valor—and he must not know that you give it!” so he hid the sword in an icy pond and used his silver doe Patronus to draw Harry to its hiding place. Snape’s tenure as Headmaster ended just before the final battle when McGonagall and Flitwick confronted Snape, and rather than fight them, he escaped by flying out an open window.

Snape flew to Voldemort in the Shrieking Shack where he begged to be allowed to find Harry Potter first. Voldemort did not suspect his motives, but killed him with the help of the giant snake Nagini in an erroneous attempt to gain mastery over the Elder Wand. Snape had lost his chance to be Master of the Elder Wand when Draco arrived on the Tower first and disarmed Dumbledore before Snape arrived. Snape’s death was completely unnecessary in Voldemort’s quest for the Wand.

As he lay dying, Harry and Hermione went to Snape’s side but he was bleeding so much there was nothing they could do. Snape told Harry to take his memories as they rose from his mind, and Hermione captured them in a vial. Then Snape told Harry “Look at me,” and he died staring into the green eyes that reminded him so much of his lost love, Lily Evans. Harry took the vial to Dumbledore’s Pensieve in the Headmaster’s Office and watched the unfolding story of Snape’s childhood with Lily and Petunia, his encounters with the Marauders, and his relationship with Dumbledore. It was only after death that Harry understood Snape’s sacrifices for himself and the Order of the Phoenix, and that Snape was the “flaw in the plan” that would help him destroy Voldemort.

Severus Snape was a consummate spy and he died a perfect spy’s death: his cover intact, his final briefing delivered, remembering the woman he loved. Harry was able to use Snape’s final intelligence to kill Voldemort once and for all. In the end, Harry made sure that the Wizarding world knew the true role of Severus Snape, and he named his third child Albus Severus Potter in honor of the “bravest man” he ever knew.

FAMILY
Birthdate:
January 9 (JKR) 1960 (year based on James’s dates-DH16).
Deathdate:
May 1, 1998, during the Battle of Hogwarts, about an hour before the dawn (DH32).
Ancestry:
Half-blood.
Mother: Eileen Prince (witch –HBP30).
Father: Tobias Snape (Muggle –HBP30).
Childhood: Appears to have had an abusive father (OP26, DH33).
Location of childhood home: A brick row house on Spinner’s End by a river (DH33), in what appears to be a rundown area of an industrial city in northern England (HBP2).
Relationships: Severus loved childhood friend Lily Evans faithfully, but in a possessive, obsessive way, until he died. In 1999, Rowling was asked if Snape had ever fallen in love. Here’s what she said: excerpt from “The Connection” interview, October 12, 1999 [mp3 audio].

APPEARANCE
Hair: black and greasy, shoulder length.
Eyes: black.
Complexion: sallow, also described as very pale.
Distinguishing features: long, hooked nose, scowl; Dark Mark on left forearm but not always clearly visible. While Snape is repeatedly compared to a bat, he is not a vampire (WBD).

Severus SnapeDescriptions from the books:

  • At 9-years old: “sallow, small, stringy.” “His black hair was overlong and his clothes were so mismatched that it looked deliberate: too short jeans, a shabby, overlarge coat that might have belonged to a grown man, an odd smocklike shirt.” (DH33)
  • “Snape-the-teenager had a stringy, pallid look about him, like a plant kept in the dark. His hair was lank and greasy and was flopping onto the table, his hooked nose barely half an inch from the surface of the parchment as he scribbled” (OP28).
  • “a professor with greasy black hair, a hooked nose, and sallow skin.” (PS7)
  • “His eyes were black like Hagrid’s, but they had none of Hagrid’s warmth. They were cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels” (PS8).
  • “uneven, yellow-ish teeth” (PA14).

SNAPE at HOGWARTS
Years: 1971 – 1978.
House: Slytherin (JKR website).
Career: Hired as Potions Master & Head of Slytherin House at Hogwarts in c.1980 (OP17); made Defense against the Dark Arts professor in 1996 and Hogwarts Headmaster in August, 1997 (DH12).
Potions office: When he taught Potions it was located adjacent to the dungeon classroom where he taught the Potions classes.
Potions classroom: Cold and dark, the walls were lined with glass jars with slimy bits of some animal or plant (OP26).
Dark Arts classroom:
His Defense Against the Dark Arts classroom was dark and gloomy with pictures of people “in pain, sporting grisly injuries or strangely contorted body parts.” (HBP9).
Headmaster’s office: When Snape became Headmaster, he did not change the Headmaster’s office much (at least Harry didn’t notice anything) (DH33).
Portrait: Harry made sure that Snape’s abdication did not deny him the honor of having his portrait hang with the rest of the Hogwarts Headmasters (OBT/CH).
From the books:

  • Sirius Black: “Snape’s always been fascinated by the Dark Arts, he was famous for it at school” (GF25).
  • Sirius Black: “Snape knew more curses when he arrived at school than half the kids in the seventh year and he was part of a gang of Slytherins who nearly all turned out to be Death Eaters” (GF25).

SNAPE at HOME We finally get a glimpse of Snape’s house when Narcissa and Bellatrix pay a visit. It is located on Spinner’s End in a dreary, rundown industrial city in northern England.

The interior is dreary too: “a tiny sitting room, which had the feeling of a dark, padded cell. The walls were completely covered in books, most of them bound in old black or brown leather; a threadbare sofa, an old armchair, and a rickety table stood grouped together in a pool of dim light cast by a candle-filled lamp hung from the ceiling. The place had an air of neglect, as though it was not usually inhabited.” (HBP2) Wormtail (aka Peter Pettigrew) is living there too.

SKILLS, AFFILIATIONS, ETC.
Wand:
?
Organizations & affiliations: Death Eater, Order of the Phoenix.
Skills: Potions (i.e.: Wolfsbane and Veritaserum), curses, Occlumens, Legilimens. Can fly without a broom (DH30).
Patronus: Doe (DH19).
Worst fear/memory: Possibly his worst memory is the humiliating episode when James Potter hung him upside down so his “graying” underwear showed, and Snape called Lily a “Mudblood.” (OP28). However, Dumbledore thinks it was when Snape realized that Voldemort decided to go after the Potters because of the Prophecy, since Snape gave him the prophecy in the first place (HBP25).
Punishment: Denounced as a Death Eater by Karkaroff at his trial; however Dumbledore vouched for his loyalty (GF30).
Battles: Snape was at the Battle of the Tower, where he killed Dumbledore and then hustled Draco to safety. In the Battle of the Seven Harrys (DH4) Snape fought with the rest of the Death Eaters and accidentally cursed George Weasley’s ear off. He was present at the Battle of Hogwarts, but did not fight because Voldemort kept him nearby, finally killing him in the Shrieking Shack (DH32).

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Family

FAMILY
Birthdate:
January 9 (JKR) 1960 (year based on James's dates-DH16).
Deathdate:
May 1, 1998, during the Battle of Hogwarts, about an hour before the dawn (DH32).
Ancestry:
Half-blood.
Mother: Eileen Prince (witch --HBP30).
Father: Tobias Snape (Muggle --HBP30).
Childhood: Appears to have had an abusive father (OP26, DH33).
Location of childhood home: A brick row house on Spinner's End by a river (DH33), in what appears to be a rundown area of an industrial city in northern England (HBP2).
Relationships: Severus loved childhood friend Lily Evans faithfully, but in a possessive, obsessive way, until he died. In 1999, Rowling was asked if Snape had ever fallen in love. Here's what she said: WEB LINKexcerpt from "The Connection" interview, October 12, 1999 [mp3 audio].

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Skills

Double Spy in the Order of the Phoenix in the fight against the Dark Lord during both Voldie-Wars. Child prodigy at Potions as The Half-Blood Prince, re-writing Advanced Potion-Making by Libatius Borage. Adult Potioneer, skilled at Healing magic. Expert in Defense Against the Dark Arts, Duelling, Occlumency.

Severus Snape
Gender Male
Species / Race Wizard
Blood Status Half-blood
Other Names ‘Sev’ which was Lily’s nickname for him, ‘Snivellus,’ used by James to ridicule him; the 'Half-blood Prince' a pun Snape made on his mother's maiden name.
Hair Black and greasy, shoulder length
Eyes Black, often described as "glinting"
Distinguishing Features Long, hooked nose, scowl; Dark Mark on left forearm but not always clearly visible. While Snape is repeatedly compared to a bat, he is not a vampire (WBD).
Patronus A silver doe, the same as Lily Evans Potter
School Hogwarts - Slytherin
Profession Head of Slytherin, Potions Master, and Headmaster of Hogwarts
Family Groups Snape family
First Introduced PS7

Commentary

Etymology

NAME MEANINGS
Birth name:
Severus Snape.
'Severus' meaning:
'Severus' has obvious connotations of severity and strictness. There are also several saints with the name 'Severus.'
'Snape' meaning: JKR says "Snape is an English village" (WEB LINKeT), probably the one in North Yorkshire near Hadrian’s (aka Severus’) Wall. This village also has a 'WEB LINKSnape Castle.' There is another Snape Village that is near Saxmundham, northeast of Ipswich near the Alde River.
snape (v.) - 'to be hard upon, rebuke, snub,' c.1300, from Old Norse sneypa 'to outrage, dishonor, disgrace.' (WEB LINKetymonline)
sneap: to nip; pinch; put down; repress; snub (WEB LINKphrontistery).

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Notes

Snape in the Movies
Highly acclaimed film and stage actor, Alan Rickman, played Severus Snape in all eight movies. He brought the greasy-haired, brooding, and eventually selfless character to life. In interviews regarding the film production, JKR mentioned that apart from the screenwriter, Steve Kloves, she revealed the most information about the ending of Harry's saga to Alan Rickman so he could accurately portray the intricacies of Snape's character and change. Sadly, Mr. Rickman died on January 14, 2016 at the age of 69 after a battle with cancer. -- Hufflepuffskein

Snape and Dumbledore
J. K. Rowling on the willingness of Dumbledore to "Go to the Hilltop" to hear Snape's side of the story when he decided to leave the Dark side:

"... the course of my fictional war was forever changed when Snape chose to abandon the course on which he was set, and Dumbledore helped him do it. Theirs was a partnership without which Harry's willingness to fight would have been pointless." (WDH)

Travels with Dante
Snape's journey throughout the Harry Potter books captivates readers, perhaps as much as Dante's journey in the Divine Comedy. On Episode 23 of the Mugglenet Academic podcast, John Granger suggested that Snape's death (and actually his life) parallels Dante's travels into Purgatory. Dante encounters Purgatory as layered in seven terraces featuring the seven deadly sins in this order: Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, Covetousness, Gluttony, Lust. By considering these qualities in reverse order, connections to Snape's journey materialize. As a young boy, Severus lusted after Lily and glutted himself on her company, to the exclusion of her early childhood companion, Petunia. At Hogwarts, Severus coveted Lily's attention in the face of her new acquaintances and fellow housemates, particularly James Potter. As they grow older, Snape became slovenly in his relationship with Lily, focusing his attention on his Slytherin housemates and Death Eater practices. Snape becomes so wrathful about the loss of his friend and her relationship with James Potter that he calls her a mudblood. As readers, we see a confrontation between Severus and Lily in which they discuss this moment and Severus voices his jealousy and envy of James for having garnered more of Lily's attention. As Lily and Severus' relationship dissolves, Severus stews in his jealousy and hatred of James while envying his position in Lily's life. Eventually, after Lily's death and the grief of her loss, Snape creates a facade of pride and arrogance which he particularly directs towards Harry and his friends. Even in conversations with Dumbledore, Snape cannot accept anything extraordinary where Harry is concerned. It is also his pride that leads to the events of Lupin's flight from Hogwarts and Sirius' escape from the Dementors. While very outwardly proud, Snape's secret actions, specifically in the later period of the story, demonstrate that he could overcome his pride to help save Harry, and by extension the Wizarding World, from Voldemort.

Interestingly, Anti-Purgatory sits beneath Purgatory in Dante's Divine Comedy and contains terraces of Late Repentants (or people who repented their sins very close to their time of death) and Excommunicates (those who were barred from receiving the sacraments or participating in the Church). There are interesting parallels in the character of Snape. We may consider Severus as a Late Repentant who turns away from Voldemort's side too late to save Lily and who only reveals his true history and feelings to Harry very late in the journey. In terms of excommunication, while Snape was not barred from either the good or bad side in the magical world, he was an outsider in both after his repentance, as a double agent must always be, and so relates to the notion of an excommunicate.
Snape also has interesting connections to Dante and his guide Beatrice through Lily's green eyes. --Hufflepuffskein

Good Guys Have Books - We Should've Known
Discussants on Episode 31 of the Mugglenet Academia Podcast described the hidden revelation in Snape's personal library. When we see Snape in his personal home at the beginning of Book 6, we are shown his extensive, busting-at-the-seams library of books. David Martin suggests that JKR's good guys have books and her baddies don't have books (or they have bad books like the Black family's copy of Nature's Nobility, a Wizarding Genealogy). Martin also suggests that Snape's full library of all sorts of books was a hidden clue that Snape really was on the good side. --Hufflepuffskein

The River Severn
Though unconfirmed, the River Severn in the Forest of Dean could be an inspiration for Severus' name. JKR attended school in the Forest of Dean and so likely became aware of its geography and primary features during her stay. In fact, Harry and Hermione camp in the Forest of Dean after the debacle of their Godric's Hollow visit in Book 7. Also, the Forest of Dean area, particularly the area of Lyndey Park, holds significance as inspiration for J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. --Hufflepuffskein

From the Web

Pensieve (Comments)

  • ALameHippogriff

    Just a note that there’s a 404 error on the link to the “The Connection” interview. Great article otherwise!

Tags: bullies curious fan theory Gryffindor-Slytherin rivalry heroism humiliation insult mystery remorse Snape Remembrall spying suffering unrequited love

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